Take yourself back to when you first started your current role. Not day one, or even at the end of month one, but when you first started to make suggestions for change. I’d bet my bottom dollar that this was when your new colleagues started talking about your predecessor. “Oh, we don’t do it like that” or “Bob was of a similar mindset before he left – let’s do it.”
Negative or positive, every leader leaves a legacy; characterised by what people say about them once they leave the business. The decisions you make today, will influence the future of your organisation and your role as a sustainable leader; long after you’ve moved on. As a people leader, some of these choices – such as those relating to policy and procedures like terminating contracts – could have knock-on effects much further down the line; fundamentally altering the culture of your business.
Some leaders may think – “so what, I’ve will have left before my legacy kicks in”. Or “it won’t be as good once I’ve left so why bother". But I strongly urge a rethink of this mentality. It’s not a helpful way to think as a leader, to believe your way is the only way. And it’s certainly not wise to keep your knowledge close to your chest. Because, for modern day business to succeed, we all must adopt a ‘pay it forward’ attitude – sharing our wisdom, experiences and bringing people on the journey with us. This, for me, is the crux of a legacy.